Late-Night Rush Hour

Late-Night Rush Hour


Every night felt amazing whenever it came time for me to finally close up the store for the day. For nine hours a day, five times a week, I would be on my feet constantly talking with customers about their wine related issues—looking for recommendations, trying to find specific bottles, why one wine was different from another, the whole nine yards. After dealing with this for well over three years I learned the perfect answers in order to get rid of customers faster while still maintaining that cheerful, charismatic persona with them. I greeted every customer with a smile, all the way from when they entered the shop, lead them through checkout, and watching them wave as they exited.

I gently rubbed my cheeks with my fingers, them being tender from smiling so damn much for so long. “Goddamn, my face is extra sore today. I felt like I won first place in a smiling competition.”

Some people followed this philosophy of taking every with a smile in order to make every issue seem less insignificant. Bullshit. I have to smile in order to try and keep sales up, and smiling with a purpose is one of the most painful experiences of my life. There have been some days where I had a customer blatantly yelling at me because we were out of stock of a bottle they wanted, and I had to stand there and smile. If I could let my personality shine just a bit more while at work I would have easily flipped the customer upside-down and kick them out, scaring them off to never come back.

With the way I really want to deal with people, it always surprised me when friends and family said I’m good with people. Ironic, isn’t it?

Regardless, it was another night finished and it was time for me to finally head home. The night sky was a gorgeous shade of black, the stars shimmering with a radiant glow on the dark backdrop. The cool breeze enveloped the city in a relaxing blanket of air, making the bottom of my duster jacket pirouette on its own. I unbuttoned the top of my blouse to allow some of the air in to help cool me down faster. My flats tapped against the concrete sidewalk with every step. From halfway down the block I could see the bright red light hanging from a street pole, a sign that the train station was nearby. Wanting to bring this night to an end, I went into a light jog towards the light.

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